Published on April 25th, 2012 | by TedTrumbley1
Diablo III: Only 20 More Days To Launch!
This past weekend, Blizzard opened its Diablo III beta servers to the public. While officially (and in reality) it was to stress test their server capacity, I like to think it was a chance to show some love to those of us who’ve waited patiently all these years. And let me tell you, I felt the love.
THE GAME: Too Soon To Tell, But Most Likely Diamond
Honestly, I’m not quite sure. A star fell and zombies showed up and you need to raise and then defeat the Skeleton King Leoric. Deckard Cain is back too, seemingly the same age as he was in Diablo and Diablo II, only now he has an adopted niece who’s been helping him find info on some prophecy of doom. Long story short, Hell’s planning its ultimate invasion of earth, and you’re gonna end up fighting Diablo.
I admit, I was disappointed and a tad apprehensive when I heard they were scrapping all the classes but the Barbarian. Diablo II found me running a Blizz/Orb sorceress and a one man wolfpack of a druid. But I needn’t have worried. The new classes are awesome. My personal favorites are the Monk and the Demon Huntress. (Honestly the monk seems a little overpowered. His teleporting strikes made the teleporting bosses no trouble at all, and with his knockback/stun charge, he is practically immune to mobs.) The Wizard is powerful, as you’d expect. The Witch Doctor is awesome, but he seems to be more of a support character, at least this early in the game. I didn’t get a chance to play the barbarian, but apparently he’s pretty straightforward.
Mana potions are now a thing of the past; your power attack energy either recharges quickly or is filled by your primary attack. The anguish of the Diablo II skill tree and stat assignment has been replaced with a streamlined character progression; all stats are automatically assigned, and all skills are learned, but you have limited slots to equip them.
There are no more scrolls of identify or town portal, and gear requirements seem to be solely class and level based so far. Maybe that changes at higher levels. Magic items you don’t want can be salvaged into craftable components, and a shared stash lets you twink your alts without needing a second computer.
The gameplay seems less frenetic (in Act I on Normal, at least), making for a more enjoyable multiplayer experience. That said, you’ll miss using the “/players 8″ trick to powerlevel, but, so far, it seems a worthwhile trade.
Finally, and most importantly, the loot takes up at most 2 blocks of your inventory. Thank God.
WHAT NOT TO EXPECT:
Starcraft, World of Warcraft, or any other recent Blizzard game. Or a cow level. This is a game of the line and in the spirit of the Diablo games: Isometric hack’n’slash, looting, and leveling. No jobs to master, no factions to join, just good old fashioned dungeon crawling.
Also, there’s no cow level. ::moment of silence::
WHAT TO EXPECT:
A Blend of Torchlight, Diablo II, gorgeous art design, and some tweaks. The isometric map view with different depths is gameplay we’ve seen in Torchlight, and the skills on hotkey and the mouse buttons are reminiscent of Diable II. However, there is not choosing where to assign skill points, and there are far fewer skill slots. (For all you lovers of the neurotic key bindings, you’re now limited to the first half of the number bar. Sorry.) So far, there aren’t any quest reward items, per se, just XP and gold rewards. Still, you acquire gear at a decent rate, and you can always try to craft better gear.
REPLAY VALUE: High
It’s Diablo III. The character classes all have unique play styles, and the multiplayer is a blast. Combine that with the crafts, drops, and difficulty levels that alter those, a complete playthrough with every character means at least 15 runs through the game. And it’s gonna be a long game.
BUY IT: Now
The server goes live on May 15. Digital preorder is available now on Battle.Net. It’ll run you $60, so if you’ve put aside $6 a year since Diablo II came out, you’re all set. Get it, and I’ll see you on launch day.